Saturday, December 20, 2008

IL Supremes Allow Challenge to Gov. Blago Order

In the 5-to-2 decision, Pharmacists Luke Vander Bleek and Glen Kosirog gain ground against Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 2005 executive order (later to become an administrative regulation) requiring all Illinois pharmacists to dispense contraceptives, including the morning-after pill.

-- From "Illinois Supreme Court rules on pharmacists' 'right of conscience' case" Chicago Tribune 12/18/08

Vander Bleek and Kosirog alleged the governor’s action violated deeply held religious convictions: Both men are convinced that the drug can act as an abortion-causing agent.

A Sangamon County circuit court dismissed the pharmacy owners’ in 2005, arguing they had not demonstrated clear evidence of harm from Blagojevich’s order, and a divided appellate court upheld that decision last year.

The Supreme Court decided the plaintiffs had presented sufficient evidence of potential harm to warrant having their case heard in court. For instance, Vander Bleek said he closed a pharmacy in Prophetstown because he wasn’t able to recruit a pharmacist. Also, the court noted, the administrative rule was amended in the settlement of a separate lawsuit last year, providing grounds for a reconsideration of the case.

“It’s not a grand slam but it’s a home run,” said Francis Manion, co-counsel for the pharmacists and an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice in Washington, D.C. “Until today, this case was going nowhere. Now it’s back in full force.”

“The court avoided the merits of the [pharmacists’] claim; all they did was say, procedurally, the case has to go back to the trial court for further consideration,” said Lorie Chaiten, director of the reproductive rights project at the ACLU of Illinois.

Before the governor intervened in 2005, Planned Parenthood was receiving several calls a month from women complaining that pharmacists had refused to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.